I was delighted to see Econsultancy pulling up the ITV Player for its overuse of frankly irrelevant and inappropriate pre-roll advertising. In this day and age, I would expect an organisation of the size and heritage of ITV to have a far better grasp of both technology and user experience, but it seems that the need to drive advertising revenues has overshadowed the fundamentals of providing an engaging experience for second-screen audiences.
In case you’ve never experienced this for yourself, ITV’s on-demand player subjects the viewer to a minimum of three pre-roll ads played back-to-back, which they must watch through to the end before they get to the content they’ve asked for. That’s a lot of irrelevant messaging to ingest before getting anywhere near something of value. To make things worse, ITV don’t appear to be using any kind of targeting technology to personalise the experience for the viewer, which means that ads are somewhat generic in appeal, disregarding one of the most crucial advantages online video delivery holds over traditional broadcast channels.
This will almost certainly reduce casual viewing – and therefore eroding content discovery and audience growth – rendering the ITV Player only really suitable for die-hard fans looking for a catch-up service for programmes they absolutely cannot see elsewhere else. More casual viewing is too much of a chore, especially given that there are so many alternative on-demand players that offer a better experience for the user.
Pro Tip: If you want to watch ITV Live (rather than on-demand) the TV Catchup app from GZero, available for iOS devices, lets you watch ITV live on your mobile device without packing the experience with unnecessary barriers.